Update: It seems the ZDNet article was a bit off (and I didn’t do as much research as I should have). Here’s a Wall Street Journal article which explains that what they’re changing is the order in which they display hotels based on price.
Via ZDNet, Orbitz has said they’ll segment consumers by operating system, and will charge Mac users $20 to $30 a night more per hotel room. Their reasoning is that Mac users are willing to pay a premium for their electronics, and are therefore also (apparently) willing to pay a premium for hotels.
A few thoughts:
- Orbitz is pretty dumb for being so upfront about this. While it’s an interesting business decision it’s not something I’d brag about in their shoes.
- I think their assumption that Mac users are willing to pay more for hotels is a bit off. They’re willing to pay a premium for Apple products, but I think the assumption that they’ll blindly be overcharged is off. If anything they’ll avoid Orbitz altogether.
- Orbitz isn’t actually selling their own branded product, but rather pulling from multiple sources. I suspect most consumers search on more than just Orbitz when planning their travel.
- While I think this is a stupid business decision, I’m not actually convinced it’s unfair/wrong. At the end of the day airlines and hotels are trying to segment consumers based on their willingness to pay, and this is just an extension of that. I don’t see it as being all that different than advance purchase requirements, day of week restrictions, etc. So in other words even as a Mac user I have no ill till towards Orbitz because of this. I just think it’ll backfire.
What do you guys think?
(Tip of the hat to Andrei)